Condoms are one of the best-known protective methods to use during sexual intercourse. They help reduce the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection and also help prevent unwanted pregnancies in heterosexual couples. But, even if you know what a condom is like or how to put it on correctly, you may still have doubts about how it works or how many times you can use it before throwing it away. If you are wondering how many times can I use a condom, keep reading and find out.

How many times can I use the same condom?

If you ask yourself “can I use a condom twice?”, the answer is emphatically no. Condoms are disposable , which means they cannot be reused. In fact, not only does the condom have to be removed after use, but it must be done immediately, just after ejaculation and while the penis is still erect. If you wait longer to remove it, you run the risk that the semen may come out of the condom, because as the erection is lost the condom could slip.

It must be remembered that condoms are a very effective protection method, since they prevent up to 98% of unwanted pregnancies (1) and between 80-90% of the spread of STIs or sexually transmitted infections (2). To obtain these benefits, you have to use them correctly, which means that you must use them from the beginning to the end of the relationship and withdraw them as soon as you ejaculate. Of course, the proper use of condoms includes not reusing them.

Risks of using the same condom twice

After answering the question of “how many times can I use a condom?”, it is convenient to review the risks involved in using a condom more than once:

Semen can come out of the condom

As we have already mentioned, the condom fits perfectly on the penis only when it is erect. Once you ejaculate, the erection fades, which causes the penis to reduce in size, soften and, consequently, the condom slips from the base towards the tip of the penis. This is how the semen it contains could come out, this implies that at that moment we are left unprotected.

Increases the risk of unwanted pregnancy and STI infection

If we misuse condoms, we are more exposed to unwanted pregnancies and STIs. Within this misuse would be to put the same condom more than once, because having used it has lost external lubrication, endured friction, it will be impregnated with sexual fluids, etc. In other words, the condom will lose its effectiveness because it is designed for one use only.

The condom can break

When we use the condom we are subjecting it to friction, be it more or less intense. It is prepared to withstand it without breaking and without losing its effectiveness, but to use the condom again is to subject it to more friction than it is designed to withstand, which can cause it to break, exposing us. In our article Why does the condom break? We explain more about this topic.

Other tips for using a condom correctly

Avoiding reuse is not the only thing you should take into account when using a condom, so we share some tips to make good use of this method of protection:

  • Open the condom carefully to make sure you don’t break it along with the wrapper. Use your fingers to open it and not your teeth or scissors.
  • Put it on when the penis is erect and always before touching the genital area or the mouth of your partner(s).
  • Make sure it is upright, hold the reservoir with two fingers over the tip of the penis and unroll the condom to its base.
  • As soon as ejaculation is over, hold the condom from below before withdrawing the penis from the partner’s body.
  • You can use some lubricant so that the penetration is smoother and there is not so much friction. Look for one that is compatible with condoms to make sure it does not affect its effectiveness.
  • Store condoms in a cool, dry place. It is not a good idea to carry them in your pockets or put them in the glove compartment of the car, as the heat could deteriorate them.
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